The court case evolving from Paula Jones' charges that Bill Clinton propositioned her in 1991 and hounded her sexually thereafter is likely to become a more lurid, disgusting spectacle than was the recent sex-bite trial of sportscaster Marv Albert.
Months before the Clinton-Jones trial is scheduled to begin, we are seeing dirty tactics and sensational leaks and rumors that suggest Clinton, Jones, our court system and the U.S. as a nation will all be losers if this trial runs its course.
Robert S. Bennett, the president's lead lawyer, says Jones and her lawyers want "a circus of a trial" that will humiliate Mr. Clinton. The likelihood is that you and I may feel foolish and soiled before this litigation ends.
Jones' lawyers have sent the president a list of 72 questions that add up to a demand that Clinton admit beforehand that while governor of Arkansas he was an unscrupulous adulterer who tossed favors to women who submitted to him sexually. Among the questions are:
"Please admit or deny the following: While he was governor of the state of Arkansas, defendant Clinton had sexual relations with women (other than Hillary Rodham Clinton) who later became employees of the state of Arkansas (or an agency thereof)."
"Please admit or deny . . . defendant Clinton had sexual relations with a woman who he, as governor, appointed to a position as a judge in the state of Arkansas."
Clinton's lawyers say the questionnaire is an unlawful "fishing expedition" and an attempt "to embarrass the president by using rumors and hearsay and fictions." They argue that the questions -- and answers -- are not relevant to Paula Jones' charges. A spokeswoman for Jones says the answers are needed to show "a pattern of conduct" by Clinton.
Judge Susan Webber Wright will probably have to decide whether Clinton must respond to the questionnaire. Even if the judge were to denounce the questionnaire, the rumors and charges suggesting that Clinton was sexually promiscuous will already have been pressed upon potential jurors.
Meanwhile, Jones' sex life prior to the alleged 1991 encounter with Clinton -- who says he doesn't even remember meeting her -- is being probed by investigators hired by Danny Ferguson, a Clinton co-defendant and the Arkansas state trooper Jones claims was ordered by Clinton to lure her to a hotel room in Little Rock. Anything found that is damaging to Jones will surely be leaked, even if Judge Wright rules it inadmissible in court.
Speaking of leaks, someone has told the Washington Times that in her sworn affidavit Paula Jones claimed that when Clinton showed her his penis she saw that it had a very distinctive bend when erect -- a penile condition that may be caused by "Peyronnie's disease." This leak apparently was made to counteract Bennett's statement on CBS last Sunday that doctors at the National Naval Medical Center found no distinguishing characteristics regarding the president's genitals.
"In terms of size, shape, direction, whatever the devious minds want to concoct, the president is a normal man," Bennett said.
All this raises the specter of a jury asking the president to strip and induce an erection so they can see if his penis bends abnormally.
Has the achievement of justice come to this?
North America Syndicate